Even with the guys struggling on this, the final road trip of 2010, the Cincinnati Reds can wrap up the NL Central title today. With the magic number resting at 2, a Reds win (which, let’s be honest, haven’t come frequently as of late) and a Cubs win over the Cardinals would seal the deal. And look forward to what could be…
Cincinnati will send Homer Bailey (3-3, 4.73) to the mound while the San Diego Padres will counter with Clayton Richard (13-8, 3.53). Game time is 4:05 PM ET. It will be intriguing how the Reds will play today as they have, in some way or another, coughed up the first two games of the series.
In the Cardinals-Cubs game today, St. Louis will go with Jake Westbrook (2-4, 3.77) and Chicago gets another look at Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 6.00). This will be the final game at Wrigley this season, so look for the Cubs to raise the “W” at the friendly confines. Game time is 2:20 PM ET.
The playoff picture is completely in a state of flux. Here’s a quick glance at the current standings:
- Philadelphia Phillies (93-62)
- San Diego Padres (87-67)
- Cincinnati Reds (86-69)
- Atlanta Braves/San Francisco Giants (87-68)
It will all depend on the wild card team as to who Cincy will play in the NLDS. If Atlanta wins the WC, the Reds will face the Phillies. If San Fran emerges as the WC team, it’s the Padres as the Reds opponent.
The Reds can change their standing, too. The Phillies have all but clinched being the top dog. Cincy rests 1.5 games behind the Padres. A win today will decrease that to 0.5 games. The Padres have the Cubs in town for four beginning tomorrow evening and the jet up the coast to San Francisco for the final three games of the season.
Meanwhile, the Reds have a travel day to return to GABP. Upon their return, it’s Houston for three and Milwaukee for three to close out the regular season. At this point, the Reds have to be looking at the #2 spot. As I stated earlier this week, if they achieve that #2 spot, they would have home field in the NLDS at least and avoid facing the Phillies (who is the hottest team in all of the majors) in that round.
The teams may be close to being set but the match-ups are far from being settled.
And people want to expand the playoffs…